BLOOD SHORTAGES: Innovative Methods Lure Donors
Bay Area blood donation centers are stepping up their efforts to recruit blood donors by adopting imaginative and creative marketing ploys, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Some area centers are offering donors T-shirts, baseballs autographed by the San Francisco Giants or Oakland A's, and other free items. Red Cross centers in San Jose, Oakland, Pleasanton, Pleasant Hill and Fremont last weekend continued a long-standing tradition of a Fourth of July weekend barbecue for past donors and new recruits. "We averaged 70 pints per center at the cookouts last Monday," said Red Cross spokesperson Josie Murphy. The Stanford University Medical School bloodmobile just got a makeover -- a $10,000 vinyl advertising wrapping donated by a grateful Stanford cancer patient who also owns a local graphics company. "It's a very timely gift," said Caryn Huberman, spokesperson for the Stanford Blood Center (Workman, 7/9). The Sacramento Medical Foundation blood center is seeking 1,000 pints -- a record -- at CalExpo today. The previous record of 641 units was set 10 years ago. The blood will go to 40 Sacramento-area hospitals (Brooks, Sacramento Bee, 7/9). Murphy said the process has been "speeded up to a degree" by a new FDA regulation that allows donors to read and fill out a questionnaire on their own, rather than have a nurse read it to them. But Lisa Bloch of Blood Centers of the Pacific in San Francisco said her organization "still rel[ies] mostly on the altruistic nature of Northern California. ... [I]t's a community responsibility because it's the community's blood supply" (Chronicle, 7/9).
Computer Crash Spurs Blood Crisis
A computer system crash has destroyed the donor database at the Blood Bank of the Redwoods in Santa Rosa, leaving workers there struggling to contact recruits needed to fill dwindling supplies. Technical Director David Witthaus said that while no blood was lost and the blood safety testing system was never in danger, it still represents a crisis because most of the bank's donors are return customers that the center notifies periodically. Since the crash, the bank's weekly intakes have dwindled from 600 pints to just 300 pints (Carter, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 7/9).